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mahmoud darwish

  • Ceding the Palestinian narrative to ... Palestinians

    Marcello Di Cintio's book, 'Pay No Heed to the Rockets,' ends up revealing something discomforting about us: our notions of Palestinian life may have little to do with how Palestinians experience themselves. Pay No Heed to the Rockets," Marcello Di Cintio, Counterpoint, 2018. Marcello Di Cintio’s Pay No Heed to the Rockets borrows its title from Mahmoud Darwish, Palestine’s most widely translated poet, who, amid the sounds of destruction accompanying Israel’s 1982 invasion of Lebanon, marks one night under siege with a how-to on coffee brewing. The passage, even in translation, brilliantly evokes the banal, methodical persistence of the civilian…

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  • Why is the Israeli Right so terrified of cultural expression?

    The Right holds near total power in Israel, so why is it so afraid of poetry and theater productions? Should a stranger come upon the public discussions happening in Israel over the past few years, he or she would be under the impression that the country is a global cultural powerhouse. From Al-Midan Theater, Jaffa's Arab Hebrew Theater, the Ophir Prize — Israel's version of the Oscars — to Palestinian poets Dareen Tatour and Mahmoud Darwish, the media and the public are in a frenzy over the face of Israeli culture. [tmwinpost] In light of these discussions, one gets the impression that culture…

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  • Unpacking anti-Arab racism in Israel

    A new law aiming to silence the Muslim call to prayer is just one manifestation of efforts to erase Palestinian culture and identity. But language and heritage aren't so easy to disappear. There is a building on Michelangelo Street in Jaffa, near where I used to live, which for a while featured the sentiment “We have no other country” graffitied in both Arabic and Hebrew, side by side. One day, the Arabic was painted over, presumably by the municipality, leaving only the Hebrew. Almost immediately, someone restored the Arabic. It was painted over again. This pattern continued until a friend publicly asked the municipality why…

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  • Why Israel's Arab statesman boycotted Peres' funeral

    By refusing to attend the funeral, leader of the Joint List Odeh was protesting the myth of Shimon Peres, who enjoyed the global brand of peacemaker after Oslo, but walked away when things didn’t exactly work out. The death of a towering statesman is an occasion for an outpouring of oratory about his or her meaning in the country’s life. Rivers of memory and interpretation flow and converge to form that leader’s mythical legacy in the story of the nation. [tmwinpost] Shimon Peres was an elder statesman who evolved late in life, with no small difficulty, into a figure of national consensus.…

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  • The stark difference between Israeli and Arab schools on the same side of the separation barrier

    Just five minutes from Kfar Saba, under full Israeli control, children from the village Arab a-Ramadin will attend a school made of clay, without electricity, and most certainly without computers. All my years as a teacher and administrator couldn't have prepared me for this place. By Eitan Kalinski As I stood in front of a structure called 'School for the Children of the Village of Arab a-Ramadin,' located five minutes from Kfar Saba, I felt myself shamefully shed over 40 years of teaching. A stone's throw from Kfar Saba's cultural centers and educational palaces to the west, and the settlement of Alfei…

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  • No Bibi, Palestinians succeed despite Israel — not because of it

    By urging Israel's Palestinians to take a more active role in civil society, Netanyahu erases an entire history that existed in this land before Zionism. It is not entirely clear what drove Prime Minister Netanyahu to use this moment and release a video directed at Israel's Arab citizens. It clocks in at just over three minutes, and I must admit that I couldn't get through the whole thing. Maybe if it were broadcasted on FaceTime. Maybe. [tmwinpost] But the minute and a half that I did watch were enough to see the depth of the man's cynicism and deceptiveness, and even that…

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  • The Israeli Right still hasn't internalized that Palestinians exist

    Arabs are more present than ever in the Israeli public sphere, but attempts to marginalize them are growing at an even faster pace. A new law aimed at pushing Arab representatives out of the political system could wind up changing the rules of the game — in the worst possible way. The Knesset this week passed a law that will enable it to expel Arab MKs from their positions as elected representatives. The same day, a storm erupted over a program on Army Radio that examined a poem by Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish. Both events have one thing in common:…

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  • The Palestinian-Israeli singer challenging everyone's misconceptions

    Call her a traitor, call her a normalizer — Palestinian-Israeli singer Amal Murkus has heard it all. Now as she gets ready to release her brilliant new album, the avowed Marxist and feminist is speaking out against the racism of the Israeli mainstream as well as Palestinian attempts to silence her. When I came home after my interview with Amal Murkus in a Jerusalem cafe, I turned off the engine and remained in my car with my eyes closed for an hour until the sounds of her new album "Fatah al-Ward" ("The Roses Bloomed") came to an end. [tmwinpost] This…

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  • Yossi Sarid: Conservative innovator of the Israeli Left

    One of the first Israeli politicians to champion the two-state solution, Yossi Sarid was also one of the last vestiges of the Israeli Left's old guard. He will be remembered warmly for never turning away a person in need, but also for his contentious attitudes toward religious and Mizrahi Jews.  For better or worse, there has never been a more perfect embodiment of the old Israeli left than columnist and politician Yossi Sarid, who passed away from a heart attack age 75 late last week. He was an uncompromising champion of human and civil rights, of free speech, of separation…

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  • 'Dear Darwish': A poetically and politically brave book

    Israeli-American poet Morani Kornberg-Weiss breaks with conventional poetics and mainstream politics. But who, exactly, is Dear Darwish for?  Dear Darwish, Morani Kornberg-Weiss’s first collection of poetry, opens with a prose poem that that doubles as an indictment of Israeli society. Cleverly disguised as a letter, it is addressed to the late Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish. Like the poems that follow it, “Dear Mahmoud” does many things at once. It captures the violence inherent in establishing and maintaining the Jewish state. It accurately depicts Israelis’ objectifying and dehumanizing view of Palestinians. It shows how the state’s violence against Palestinians has seeped…

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  • Will there be peace if Palestinians lay down their arms?

    The world expects millions of people in Gaza and the West Bank to happily and quietly live under occupation. While laying down arms is a positive step towards peace, it is not enough to end this conflict. Written with Dr. Marc Gopin In the past few weeks the pro-Israel pundits have been recycling an argument that runs as follows: If Palestinians were to lay down their guns tomorrow, there would be no war. If Israel were to lay down its arms, there would be no Israel. This argument is based on two false assumptions about Palestinians. The first statement is…

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  • Hands Not Bombs: From the cave of your invented neighbors

    "Dare to look for the handprints, dare to acknowledge the humanity of an invented people." A Palestinian-American student, writer and activist takes a journey of discovery,  in an essay inspired by the culture and literature of liberation, an ancient symbol, and a prehistoric cranium.  By Tamara Masri Skulls of early man flashed across the screen. Dr. Bailey looked at no notes as he described the anatomical features of the ancient cranium. “Female Neanderthal found in Mt. Taboun, Israel”.. For the first time in my Biological Anthropology class, I felt a small jolt in my gut.  Until that moment, the babble and…

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  • The "Israel fetish": singling out Jews & Israelis for hate & love

    I was recently in New York City and decided to visit the Jewish Heritage Museum in Battery Park (a Holocaust museum), as I had never been there, though I have been to a fair share of Holocaust museums in the world. As I entered the beginning of the permanent exhibit, I overheard a guide talking to a group of high school students. First she asked them: "Does anyone here know a Jew?" Only a few raised their hands, among them one of the grown-ups. Then she said: "Jews come in all shapes and sizes," right as I walked by them…

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